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Today, the MacArthur Justice Center is one of the premier civil rights law firms in the United States with offices in Chicago, Illinois (based at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic); Oxford, Mississippi (based at the University of Mississippi School of Law); St. Louis, Missouri; New Orleans, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.The MacArthur Justice Center was founded in 1985 by J. Roderick MacArthur and his daughter Dr. Solange MacArthur with the mission to advocate for human rights and social justice through litigation.

Our fight against injustices in the criminal system has included litigation of cases about police misconduct, the death penalty, unfair parole revocations, abusive prison conditions, and the incarceration of the poor. We argue for the basic human rights that the rest of America too often takes for granted and, in doing so, pursue important and permanent improvements to our criminal justice system.

“The men, women and children we represent most often have no other advocate — no one to stand beside them and argue they be given the basic human rights that the rest of America too often takes for granted. It is our privilege not only to argue on their behalf but also to help make considerable and permanent improvements in our criminal justice system.”

-- Locke Bowman, Executive Director, MacArthur Justice Center



The founding office of the MacArthur Justice Center, the dedicated team in the Chicago office has secured millions of dollars in compensation for the wrongfully convicted and helped protect constitutional rights of men and women in prison. Students at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law are involved in nearly every lawsuit — conducting legal research, and gaining first-hand experience in court while serving on litigation teams.

St. Louis

The St. Louis office has expanded opportunities for the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center to use litigation as a tool to provoke criminal justice reform. The St. Louis office fights against injustice on both sides of the Mississippi River with special focus on racial bias in policing, juvenile justice, prison and jail reform, right to counsel, court reform, sentencing and parole practices generally, and the death penalty.

New Orleans

The New Orleans office is fighting to end race-based jury selection in Caddo Parish and to end Ascension Parish’s practice of jailing impoverished people charged with minor crimes. The office is also engaged in efforts to protect the constitutional rights of people on Death Row in Mississippi and in the Orleans Parish Prison (Jones v. Gusman), and to challenge the use of controversial drugs in Mississippi executions.

University of Mississippi

The MacArthur Justice Center office at the University of Mississippi School of Law in Oxford focuses on issues such as police misconduct, wrongful search and seizure, conditions of confinement, juvenile justice, inmate access to health care and mental health treatment, access to parole, prosecutorial misconduct, discrimination in the criminal justice system, and indigent rights. In addition, the Clinic provides law students with opportunities to participate in all aspects of the Center’s litigation.

Washington, D.C.

The MacArthur Justice Center - Washington, D.C., is primarily focused on obtaining material and lasting reform primarily through appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and other appeals courts around the country. The staff specializes in innovative appellate lawyering that seeks to advance the law in a direction that provides greater protection against injustice and violations of civil rights.